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Child Custody Lawyers Adelaide

Separation and divorce are a difficult time, particularly if children are involved. The welfare of your children should take priority over other considerations such as asset distribution. Parenting arrangements can be resolved through negotiations between you and your former partner without court intervention. A Scammell & Co. family lawyer can assist with this.

Such agreements can include decisions about:

  • With whom the child/children will live with;
  • How much time the child/children will spend with each parent;
  • Parental responsibilities such as payment of school fees, and transporting children to and from school;
  • Access to grandparents and other important people in their lives; and
  • Any other factors relating to the care, welfare and development of the child/children.

Parenting Plans

With parenting arrangements agreed upon, it is advisable to formalise these in a written agreement referred to as a ‘parenting plan’. This can be drafted by you or with the help of a lawyer. It is important to understand that parenting agreements can only be made by consent, and if drafted out of court are not legally enforceable. Therefore, a level of trust between the parties involved is required to make them work.

Consent Orders

If you want your written parenting plan to be legally enforceable, you can make an application to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court so that Orders can be made. Consent Orders require agreement between you and your former partner. Consent Orders are legally binding and failing to comply with such Orders may lead to penalties being imposed.

Parenting Orders

A Parenting Order is an order which is made by either the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court which sets out details relating to the care and living arrangements of a child/children. Parenting Orders can be made either by consent between the parties or the Court can hear the matter and then make an Order. Court decisions always consider what is in the best interests of the child/children.

It is important to note that Parenting Orders do not include orders relating to the financial support of a child/children. Child Support is a separate issue which can be dealt with privately in a Binding Child Support Agreement or through the Department of Human Services.

Intervention Orders

For information on Intervention Orders refer to our intervention order page.

Our professional and experienced Child Custody team is ready to assist you…

Sam Ngai

FAQs Click on the questions below to reveal the answer.

Will the children have to divide their time between myself and their mother/father?

Depending on the ages of the children they will usually live with the parent who has been their primary care-giver, and spend time with the other parent. Although responsibility for the children is generally shared equally between parents, this does not mean each parent has equal time with the children. There are many circumstances to consider in regard to the arrangements for the children. These arrangements may change as the children grow older. We will advise you on how best to protect your relationship with your children.

What if the children don’t want to go with the other parent?

Children’s views are relevant but not necessarily binding. The Family Law Act requires that it be considered whether equal shared time with each parent is in the children’s best interests and reasonably practicable. However, the Court is generally reluctant to order care arrangements of older children. Sometimes difficulties arise due to your work or other commitments. We can assist you to reach a satisfactory agreement suited to your individual needs. Where there is a history of violence or abuse, the Courts will seek to protect the children and special arrangements may need to be made.

What if I want to keep the house and care for the children?

We can advise you on how to negotiate a division of property that will best suit your preferred arrangements for the children, your employment and your future financial security. You will also be advised about child support payments and whether you may be successful in obtaining spousal maintenance.

What if I am being prevented from seeing my children?

We will assist you to negotiate an arrangement that will ensure you maintain a relationship with your children. Where equal shared time is not appropriate, the Court must consider whether substantial and significant time is appropriate; ie. where a parent spends with the child that falls on weekends and holidays, and time that does not fall on those days.

Where parenting arrangements cannot be agreed, the parties are required to attend Family Dispute Resolution (mediation) before they commence Court proceedings unless exceptional circumstances apply.

How do I keep legal costs down?

At Scammell & Co. our experienced family lawyers are focused on achieving the best possible outcomes for clients, in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. Your legal costs can be minimised by:

  • Responding to correspondences from your lawyer in a timely and complete manner;
  • Sending your lawyer an agenda of your questions before you meet;
  • Making 2 copies of documents that need to be disclosed (one for your lawyer and one for your former partner or his/her lawyer);
  • Producing documents sought from your lawyer in the first instance; and
  • Consider whether the value of the matter in dispute outweighs the legal costs involved.